Last weekend, I ventured deep into the Kingdom of Nerds by playing in a casual Heroscape tournament at a friend of a friend’s apartment. Heroscape is turn-based miniature wargaming system played using miniature figures on a board made from interlocking hexagonal tiles that allow for construction of a large variety of 3D playing boards. It is a game of hit points, numerous dice, and attacking. It plays like a fantastic version of chess. Only instead of rooks and pawns, you have all manner of orcs, dragons, robots, assassins, etc. The board and character selection is vast if the host has enough expansion packs, and this was certainly the case over the weekend. The three playing boards sprawled out in full 3d upon a long banquet table and were surrounded by plastic containers full of various character pieces. The five other people playing for the most part knew the characters’ stats without looking at the cards. It was a little intimidating, so I picked a pre-configured, defensive style army. After six hours of 45 minute long games, I had won two and lost the rest.
One of the more 3d boards. The trees actually function as line-of-sight blocks when attacking.
Dragon battles Spiderman near the mountain.
The three games in action.
Seeing the complexity of this game got me thinking about the simplicity of my true love: Settlers of Catan.
I drafted up a set of rules to the existing game that provide more strategy than the base version, while not requiring any additional purchases. I call them the Daum Varient. Here they are if you want them to try them out. For soldier pieces, each player can use different coins or buttons, or if you’re ambitious you can make your own pieces from cut painted basswood or paper.
Settlers of Catan: Daum Variant (12-20-07)
Player may purchase a roadblock for the cost of 2 roads. He places his piece at the end of any opponent’s road or off a settlement. This prevents the opponent from building a road until they remove the roadblock at the same cost. It can be used to prevent longest road or settlement development.
COST: Wx2 Bx2
For the cost of 2 settlements, the player may place a settlement anywhere on the map as long as it is two edges away from any other settlement. If the player has the cards for a road, they can build a road off of the outpost on the same turn.
COST: Wx2 Bx2 Sx2 Whx2
For the cost of one settlement, a player may move a settlement to any other tile connected by his roads as long as it is two spaces away from any existing settlement. He will no longer receive any resources from the tile the settlement used to occupy.
COST: W B S Wh
For the cost of one of every resource, a player may place one settlement piece on any number of the board. Like the robber, it blocks that number for every settlement on that tile. The mercenary may be removed for the same cost.
COST: W B S Wh O
Soldiers function like Mercenaries and the Robber, expect that when they block a resource number, any of the attacker’s settlements can still draw resource cards.
Because of soldiers, the Largest Amy is not determined by development cards. Instead, the player who has the largest army of 5 soldiers or more is awarded two VP for LARGEST ARMY. Knight cards may be traded in for one additional soldier that may be placed on the buyer’s settlement farthest from any opponents’ settlements.
Each player starts the game with two soldier pieces placed on the resource tile(s) of the settlement(s) of his choice. Soldiers both guard and attack settlements. One soldier is necessary to guard against one attacker, two against two attackers, etc.
To successfully attack any settlements on a tile, you need one more soldier than the opponent has in defense. This blocks the resource from the opponent’s settlement(s). If the the number of guards and attackers is the same, nothing is blocked. Each player on a resource has to defend separately. To unblock an attacked resource, buy and/or move additional soldiers to the settlement.
Additional soldiers may be bought. They are placed on the buyer’s settlement that’s farthest away from any opponent’s settlement.
One soldier can be moved one space per round, at the cost of one sheep and one wheat.
If a player has 4 soldiers in any resource tile, whether settled or not, they receive resource cards when the number is rolled. This is called a STANDING ARMY.
SOLDIER COST: Whx2 Ox2 Sx2
MOVEMENT COST: Wh S
If you try it out, let me know what you think works/doesn’t. I haven’t tested it much yet.